Toyota and Subaru reveal wild racing concepts

GR GT3 and STI E-RA prove there's life in Japanese motorsport yet

By Matt Bird / Friday, January 14, 2022 / Loading comments

Alright, so the Toyota GR GT3 wasn’t quite what we were expecting. More than a mere souped-up Supra, it’s a bespoke racing car, one that Toyota says represents its ‘driver-first’ approach to car development. The aim of this GT3 is simple, it seems, not least because thus far only a couple of paragraphs have been written about it: Toyota wants to do more motorsport, GT3 appeals, and maybe this is the kind of car it wants to offer customer teams. A GT3 grid is already one chock-full of great cars, from V10 Lamborghinis to V8 AMGs, Astons, McLarens and more. A car like this amongst those could work further wonders for Toyota’s image.

But we’re getting a tad ahead of ourselves. For now, Gazoo Racing is typically vague, talking of making a production car from the racer (as it says the Yaris GR was) rather than turning the showroom model into something fit for motorsport. “TGR intends to use feedback and technologies refined through participation in various motorsport activities to develop both GT3 and mass-production cars” is as much as you’re going to get for now. But you can’t race a GT3 car without making a production version…

Subaru, however, has much more to say about its latest concept – the STI E-RA, or Electric Record Attempt. And you thought it would be a mere hybrid STI saloon. This LMP-style stunner is powered by four electric motors and a 60kWh battery, delivering a mighty 1,088hp. The motors are Yamaha supplied, and Subaru’s proprietary four-wheel, four-motor torque vectoring promises both “the pleasure of driving” as well as “an absolute sense of security”.

Which, if you’ll excuse the predictability, is exactly what made the classic Subarus so engaging; if anyone can make 4WD fun in the electric age, it’s going to be Subaru. They know it, too: “The unique torque vectoring system is a technology that equalises the balance to the grip limit of each of the four wheels with a driver-focused control system whose highest priority is the pleasure of driving.” The system monitors everything – brake pressure, wheel load, G-force, yaw, steering angle, vehicle speed and wheel speed – to then apportion torque best via those four motors to the wheel that needs it.

Furthermore, that Electric Record Attempt name isn’t just for show. Subaru’s aim for this car is to lap the Nordschleife in 400 seconds, or 6:40, which would put it among some of the very fastest combustion-engined cars. The record attempt is due in 2023, with testing at Japanese circuits taking place this year. Which is all well and good, but you have to wonder what might happen in the EV world in the meantime – a lot of progress can be made in 12 months.

Still, it’s a genuinely exciting motor show concept from Subaru, and it feels a while since we’ve had one of those. And we can surely expect plenty more from the Toyota GT3 concept, too – how could they not advance a project that looks this cool?


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